KUWAIT: Salon owners protest yesterday against the indefinite closure of salons and barbershops from today as part of the government’s measures to fight the spread of COVID-19. — Photo by Fouad Al-Shaikh

By B Izzak

KUWAIT: National Assembly Speaker Marzouq Al-Ghanem yesterday said the prime minister has agreed to reconsider measures imposed by the government on businesses to contain the spread of the coronavirus. “I just spoke with Prime Minister Sheikh Sabah Al-Khaled Al-Sabah and he agreed to reconsider” a series of decisions taken by the government at an extraordinary meeting on Wednesday, Ghanem said.

The speaker said the premier agreed that a meeting will take place today between the ministerial emergency committee and representatives of owners of small businesses. Ghanem said he held a meeting with representatives of small businesses who explained the losses they have sustained because of the earlier closures and the potential losses they are expecting to incur because of the new closures, which are scheduled to start today.

The Cabinet decided to close all businesses from 8 pm to 5 am, including malls. It also decided to totally shut down salons, barbershops and health clubs. Ghanem called on the Cabinet to immediately cease the implementation of the measures which have hit the business sector very hard and left highly-damaging social, financial and economic impacts.

The speaker’s call came after dozens of owners of salons, barbershops and health clubs yesterday held a protest outside the lawyers’ association to urge authorities to call off the implementation of the measures. Security men prevented the gathering from taking place outside the National Assembly, but protesters then moved to the Kuwait Lawyers Society, calling on MPs to support their cause and prevent their businesses from going bankrupt.

Meanwhile, some 15 health centers across Kuwait have been given the go-ahead to administer COVID-19 vaccines to nationals and residents, a health ministry spokesman said yesterday. Kuwait’s five health regions have each been allocated three health centers, with work Naseem and Masayel centers expected to begin today, Health Ministry Spokesman Dr Abdullah Al-Sanad said in a press statement.

The other centers include Hamad Al-Humaidhi, Sheikha Al-Sdairawi, Musaed Hamad Al-Saleh and Northwest Sulaibikhat in the Capital region; Abdulrahman Al-Zaid, Siddiq and Salwa Specialist in the Hawally region; Mutab Obaid Al-Shallahi, Ardiya Al-Shamali and Khaitan Al-Janoubi in the Farwaniya health region; Masayel, Sabah Al-Ahmad Health Center E and East Ahmadi in the Ahmadi region; and Naseem, Jaber Al-Ahmad Health Center 1 and Nahda in the Jahra region.

Sanad pointed out that the ministry is already administering vaccines at centers for the care of the disabled and the elderly and plans to launch other campaigns at some public and oil sector establishments in the country.

The interior ministry has called on the public to abide by the health authorities’ coronavirus-related instructions, warning that flouters will be penalized. In a press statement, the ministry demanded commitment to the provisions of law no. 8 of 1969 on health requirements for preventing communicable diseases due to the exceptional conditions the country is facing in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

The ministry warned that it will crack down and take all legal measures against law violators. If convicted, they will be jailed for up to six months and fined up to KD 6,000 or either of the two penalties, it added. The ministry urged both nationals and residents to stop holding gatherings, including national day celebrations, wedding parties, receptions and other get-togethers in public or private places.